Saskatoon nails high 20 spot in Architectural Digest’s record of locations to go in 2019

If you live in Saskatchewan, you don’t have to travel far to get to one of Architectural Digest’s favorite spots in 2019.

Saskatoon has compiled a list of the top 20 travel destinations for design lovers based on new builds like the Remai Modern. The list also includes great historical centers like Copenhagen and Berlin.

Saskatoon’s architecture is defined by a shift towards modern sensibilities in a province where the tallest buildings have historically been granaries, according to local architect Louis Aussant.

“These have been slowly disappearing over the past 20 to 25 years since I was much younger,” said Aussant, senior architect and CEO of Saskatoon’s aodbt Architecture and Interior Design.

“To see that in a city – in the middle of what some people say is nowhere – being replaced by concrete and steel-and-glass constructions is pretty impressive.”

Nutrien Ltd. announced that it will build its new Saskatoon office in River Landing. (Submitted photo / Nutrien Ltd.)

The Remai continues to cause a stir, but the other River Landing office towers and condominium projects next door will also be stunning for their size, he said.

“It’s going to reshape and redefine the Saskatoon skyline, which has been pretty understated for the past two or three decades,” said Aussant.

Saskatoon isn’t just defined by projects near its river valley, he said. He pointed to new builds like the Merlis Belsher Arena, which opened on the University of Saskatchewan’s campus this fall, and the future Children’s Hospital with its breathtaking views and ambition to be a center of excellence in healthcare.

Building density

Aussant emphasized the need for density. He referred to a mixed-use development project on Broadway as one that he hoped would get city council approval in the New Year. When it comes to backfill, Aussant wants to see builders and the city question height restrictions, even if this has raised some concerns in the past.

A planned 17-story skyscraper on Broadway Avenue is one of the planned projects for the future of Saskatoon. (Submitted by aodbt architecture + interior design)

“We really have to keep growing up and not outward,” he said.

Wanuskewin on the outskirts of town is currently undergoing a renovation project that Aussant calls “massive” and believes it will become an internationally known world heritage site.

“It’s in such a beautiful landscape and it goes a long way in bringing us together into the Age of Reconciliation,” he said. A plan to bring bison to Wanuskewin will take this project to another level, he said.

The world heritage site of Wanuskewin on the outskirts of Saskatoon is in the middle of a major expansion. (Submitted by aodbt architecture + interior design / Rendered by David Zhang)

Aussant said the city had grown by leaps and bounds, paving the way to an architectural destination.

“It’s amazing how much has happened.”

with files from Saskatoon Morning

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